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2021 - Out of the Mancave

Experiences of isolation and lockdown in men 50+.

Hackney Brocals (‘the bros’) are a group of Hackney men aged 50+ who get together to battle the curse of ‘bronliness’ in society. They do this by training to drive 12-seater minibuses and then driving each other on trips in and around London. Or rather, they did. Until COVID-19.

In early 2020 the bros were working with artist Angela Groundwater on a piece with them about their struggles with isolation and loneliness and the steps they were taking to combat it. Their last trip to Chislehurst Caves, Kent, became the inspiration for the wallpaper shown here, entitled Out of the ManCave.

The introduction of a national lockdown in response to the Coronavirus pandemic created an unprecedented threat of loneliness as the bros stayed at home alone. Throughout the rest of 2020 the men shared their personal stories of lockdown with Angela and one another over Zoom, asking: What had they been doing? How had they been coping?

The results are these custom-made wallpaper designs that weave together the men’s memories, histories and treasured possessions, to create a portrait of a year unlike any other.